Featured Interview With Stacy Barnett Mozer
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I am a third grade teacher, an Assistant Advisor for the New England Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators (NESCBWI), and a mom to two wonderful tweens. I was raised on Long Island, in Merrick, NY. The best part about growing up in Merrick was that it was so close to Jones Beach and other fun things to do. I could ride my bike everywhere, to friends’ houses and to the beach and the pool. It was also close to NYC. Now I live in Stamford, Connecticut, which may not have the best beaches but it is also close to New York City and to my parents on Long Island. And both are close to my favorite sports team, the NY Mets!
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I always remember loving to read. When I was in late elementary school I told my parents that I was afraid of the dark so that they would leave the light on in the hallway and I could place my book in the doorway. That worked well until one night when I was so into the book that I didn’t hear my dad come up the stairs until his foot was standing on my book.
I never thought of myself as a writer when I was younger, though I wrote all the time. I had diaries and journals and would pass a notebook of notes back and forth with some of my middle school friends. I still have all of them and sometimes reread them to connect with the younger me.
I started writing “for real” after spending a summer at Teacher’s College learning how to teach writing using a writer’s notebook. My instructors had us keep our own notebook and from then on I collected words and stories. Eventually one of those stories turned into my first finished manuscript. That story is still unpublished though because I still had a lot to learn about writing at that point. I continue to go back to it between writing other novels. Hopefully one day it will be ready for the world.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
While I will still pick up a new Stephen King book every now and again, for the most part I avoid adult books and read middle grade and young adult. I read all the time and very quickly, in a wide range of genres. To give you an idea so far this week I read three realistic fiction young adult books: ANY WAY YOU SLICE IT by Kristine Asselin, THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY of a PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie, and I WAS HERE by Gayle Forman. I have three more realistic young adult books on my two be read list. Once I finish them, I am sure I will be looking for some new middle grade fantasy book series so I can get lost in an imagined world or I have a list of new middle grade novels that I will read before September so I can recommend them to kids in my class.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
THE SWEET SPOT is the story of Sam Barrette, a thirteen-year-old baseball player. When her baseball coach tells her that her attitude’s holding her back, she wants to hit him in the head with a line drive. Why shouldn’t she have an attitude? As the only girl playing in the 13U league, she’s had to listen to boys and people in the stands screaming things like “Go play softball,” all season, just because she’s a girl. Her coach barely lets her play, even though she’s one of the best hitters on the team. All stakes now rest on Sam’s performance at baseball training camp. But the moment she arrives, miscommunication sets the week up for potential disaster. Placed at the bottom with the weaker players, she will have to work her way up to A league, not just to show Coach that she can be the best team player possible, but to prove to herself that she can hold a bat with the All-Star boys.
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